Levies may halt boutique-style hotel for Cambridge

VIV POSSELT
Last updated 05:00 12/03/2014
cambridge boutique hotel
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ

NOTABLE HOME: The existing Hamilton Rd site contains a distinctive 1950s brick home.

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Controversial plans to replace a prominent 1950s Cambridge brick house with a high-end boutique hotel may not go ahead, but the developer says the town could lose visitors if it doesn't .

Ian Patton is seeking resource consent to put the 18-suite hotel on the corner of Hamilton Rd and Hall St, but the Hamilton property developer said he had "lost his enthusiasm" for the project, and was now "sitting on the fence".

He is concerned that the costs involved in getting the project off the ground - including around $130,000 for resource consent - may be impracticable.

"I have respect for others' opinions, but frankly, I don't need to look at spending that amount; I don't need the drama," he said.

News of Mr Patton's plans for a European-styled hotel, called Anniton Hall, came out in late January.

It sparked negative comment from residents in the area - 27 submissions were received by the Waipa District Council by the January 23 cut-off date.

A council spokesperson said last Thursday that no date had been set for the hearing of submissions - the application was still on hold awaiting further information.

Three of the submissions received were neutral or in support of the project, 24 were opposed.

Among the development's opponents are long-time Hall St residents Jewel and Garry Casey.

Mr Casey listed eight reasons for opposing the hotel's construction, most of them mirroring views of other nearby residents who see the proposed hotel as exceeding height restrictions, "detracting from the special character of Hall St", and are against the demolition of a house that is listed with council as a building of importance because of its unusual architectural design.

The 1950s brick house is listed category C on the Waipa District Council district plan, and is described in a Heritage Consultancy Services report as being a "locally significant building".

Cambridge Community Board chairman Mike Pettit said there while the board was conscious of residents' views "we do feel that there needs to be more accommodation in Cambridge."

Mr Patton is a former resident of Cambridge who said he has the town's interests at heart.

He purchased the propertyin late 2012 with just such a development in mind.

"Cambridge would benefit from this type of boutique hotel," he said.

Growth, coupled with an increasing number of events and a need to attract people to Cambridge once the Waikato Expressway was completed, meant the town had to provide more accommodation, he said.

"If they don't, those people they're busy getting to come here to the Avantidrome and other attractions will make day trips to Cambridge and stay in Hamilton."

Mr Patton, who owns Quantum Lodge Motor Inn in Te Rapa, also had some involvement with the development of nearby hotel The Mews.

He said there was huge opposition to that development as well, and described some of the rules facing developers of hotels in Cambridge as "prohibitive".

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- Waikato Times

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